At least 56 people have been arrested after ministers were held hostage by former liberation combatants at the St George’s hotel outside Pretoria on Thursday night.
In a statement released shortly after the ordeal, the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NATJoints) said police received a report of a hostage situation involving ministers.
“At approximately 19:15 on Thursday evening, police received a report of a possible hostage situation in which two cabinet ministers and a deputy minister were allegedly taken hostage,” the statement read.
Defence Minister Thandi Modise, Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele and Deputy Minister of Defence Thabang Makwetla were held hostage after a meeting between them and the veterans broke down.
NATJoints said the police’s negotiation attempts with the hostage takers failed.
“At least 56 people, including seven women, have been arrested and they are likely to face charges of at least three counts of kidnapping. Police successfully rescued at least three hostages.”
It said no shots were fired during the rescue operation.
There has been no word on the state of the ministers, but Gungubele has made a public statement shortly after the rescue.
“We could not agree on how the meeting should take place; we reached a point where I thought we were agreeing that it should adjourn. As we were leaving the meeting, they closed the doors, and it is at that point when we were realized that we were held hostage.”
He has thanked Police Minister Bheki Cele and all other security forces for their intervention.